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Lawyers seeking upgraded charges against Hamilton County deputy

Posted at 3:45 PM, Jul 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 15:45:15-04

CINCINNATI — The man who was sent to the hospital for being kicked in the head by a Hamilton County sheriff's deputy is asking prosecutors to up the charges against the officer.

Nick Ballanchino was being processed by Sgt. Jesse Franklin at the Hamilton County Justice Center on June 9 after being arrested for disorderly conduct while intoxicated and obstructing official business.

According to a news release from Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters’ office, Ballanchino became "combative" and allegedly bit Franklin’s work-booted foot. Prosecutors said Franklin then kicked him in the head, resulting in a hospitalization where the inmate received five stitches and was diagnosed with a concussion.

Franklin was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault Thursday. In a Friday press conference outside of the courthouse, Ballanchino's laywers said the charges are not enough. His lawyers from The Cochran Firm in Cincinnati are asking the city to fire Franklin immediately from his position and prevent him from working in law enforcement again.

Attorney Fanon Rucker -- who is also the Democratic candidate against Joe Deters for Hamilton County Prosecutor -- said his firm is also asking the city to add an additional charge of "violating civil rights."

"It is a misdimenor of the first degree but it is a clear violation, from what we saw, of Mr. Ballanchino's rights," Rucker said.

Ballanchino said he's still getting headaches and dizziness from the incident.

"I'm a roofer so the concussion causes me dizziness. I go up ladders so it's not really safe for me right now until I heal to do my line of work," Ballanchino said.

Sheriff Jim Neil spoke out against Franklin's actions in a news conference later Thursday afternoon."As sheriff of Hamilton County, I am outraged and shocked by the egregious conduct," he said. "These actions are inconsistent with our training and will not be tolerated under my watch."

Franklin is scheduled to be arraigned Saturday morning.

WCPO reached out to Deters' office for comment on Friday's press conference but did not immediately hear back.